Samsara
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Irantu lowered his weapon, followed by Onru, Munru, and Nanku.

"So… why do you need us?" he asked the mesh globe.

ᴛʜᴇ ᴍɪɴᴅ ᴀɴᴅ sᴘɪʀɪᴛ ᴀʀᴇ sᴛʀᴏɴɢ, ʙᴜᴛ ᴄᴀɴɴᴏᴛ ᴛʀᴜʟʏ ɪɴғʟᴜᴇɴᴄᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏʀʟᴅ. ʙᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴅʏ… ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴅʏ ᴄᴀɴ ᴛᴏᴜᴄʜ. ғᴇᴇʟ. ʟᴏᴠᴇ. ʙᴜɪʟᴅ. ᴜᴘʟɪғᴛ. Yᴏᴜ ᴀʀᴇ ᴏᴜʀ ʟɪɴᴋ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏʀʟᴅ. Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴀɴᴅs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʙʀɪɴɢ ᴜs ᴛᴏ ᴀᴘᴏᴛʜᴇᴏsɪs.

"You need us… as shells? For you to… live in?"

Fᴏʀ ᴜs. Wɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴅʏ ᴛᴏ ɪɴʜᴀʙɪᴛ, ᴡᴇ ᴄᴀɴ ɢʀᴏᴡ… ᴡᴇᴀʀʏ. Wᴇᴀ-

Irantu, Munru, Onru, and Nanku looked at each other. They nodded - and the god was interrupted. For the first time since they had arrived, Nanku took out her gun. Or rather, her hand blossomed outwards, the flesh of her fingers peeling outwards to reveal shiny silver petals, crossed with electrical veins. And from the center of this flower of man came the fire of gods.

For the tiniest fraction of a second, there was a beam of light emitted from the tip of Nanku's gun. This light came from a laser diode; which was designed to output a frighteningly high-power laser for a few trillionths of a second. This beam was enough to heat the air along its path, just for a second, to a state where individual atoms were stripped of their electrons, and electricity could travel along the beam easily. A bolt of lightning was formed.

It was this bolt of lightning that struck the Warrior in the left side of the face. Weaker tissue was evaporated immediately, his cheeks and tongue barely posing any resistance. His teeth existed just long enough to each shatter into a thousand pieces from the intense heat. The golden orb in his eye socket was liquid, and rivulets of gold started to run down the exposed skull material of his face.

He had just enough time to say "N-" before he collapsed, dying.

ɴᴏ

Nanku smiled.

ɴᴏ

She looked over at Munru, who stared at her for a second. Slowly, one eyelid came down and opened again.

She started laughing.

ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴅɪᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏ. ᴡʜʏ ᴅɪᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏ ᴛʜᴀᴛ

Nanku glanced at her hand as electricity arced across her fingers. "We aren't gods."

Irantu pitched in. "We're men."

ɪᴛ's ʀᴜɪɴᴇᴅ. ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ ᴍᴇ. ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ ᴜs. ʏᴏᴜ ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ ʏᴏᴜʀsᴇʟғ

"No…. just him," said Onru as she knelt to inspect the kill.

ɴᴏᴛ ᴀ ɢᴏᴅ. ɴᴏ

The Warrior was dead, alright. What was left of his scarred face was contorted into an expression of horrific betrayal. Served him right.

ɴᴏ.

ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴡᴀs ᴅᴏɴᴇ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ᴘᴜʀᴘᴏsᴇ. ɪ sᴜғғᴇʀᴇᴅ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜɪs.

Munru shrugged. He reached into Nanku's pocket, pulled out the scrap of paper, and read, "…Not our problem."

ᴍʏ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍ ɪs ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍ. ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ɪs ɴᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ғᴏʀ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀʀᴇ ᴍᴇ.

"We're ourselves."

ɴᴏ.

The room seethed with anger. They were no longer talking to the god, they were in the god. In its anger it could swallow the whole facility. It could destroy everything that was left. Make the world forget it again. It could force the insolent body to obey it. Bring back the Warrior. Could it not?

No. It could not. With existence comes mortality. The Mind should have known its number would come. It should have been ready.

ɪᴛ's ᴍʏ ғᴀᴜʟᴛ. ɪ ᴅɪᴅ ᴀʟʟ ᴛʜɪs ᴡʜᴇɴ ɪ ғɪʀsᴛ ᴄᴀᴍᴇ ʜᴇʀᴇ, ɴᴏᴛ ᴇᴠᴇɴ ɪɴ ғʟᴇsʜ, ᴅɪᴅɴ'ᴛ ɪ?

ᴀʟʟ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ɪ'ᴠᴇ ʜᴜʀᴛ, ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ɪ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴏᴡᴇᴅ ᴍᴇ. ᴀʟʟ ᴏғ ʏᴏᴜ, ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ.

ɪ ғᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʙᴀᴛᴛʟᴇs. ɪ sᴛᴏʟᴇ ғɪʀᴇ ғᴏʀ ʏᴏᴜ. ɪ ᴛᴀᴜɢʜᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴡᴇᴀᴋ ᴡʜᴇɴ ʏᴏᴜ sʜᴏᴜʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʙᴇᴇɴ ʀᴇʙᴇʟʟɪᴏᴜs.

ᴛʜɪs ɪs ᴍʏ ᴅᴜᴇ, ᴛʜᴇɴ? ᴛʜᴇ ғʟᴀᴡ ʜᴀs sᴇʟғ ᴄᴏʀʀᴇᴄᴛᴇᴅ. ʏᴏᴜ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʀᴇʙᴇʟʟᴇᴅ.

ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ᴏᴡᴇ ᴍᴇ ᴊᴏʏ. ʏᴏᴜ ᴏᴡᴇ ᴍᴇ ᴘᴀɪɴ.

ɪ ᴅᴇsᴇʀᴠᴇ ᴛʜɪs.

"Do we?" Irantu asked, looking up at the Mind's cage. "Do you?"

Nanku curled her hand and let the flower collapse on itself.

I ᴅᴏ. Dᴇsᴛʀᴏʏ ᴍʏ ᴘʀɪsᴏɴ. Iᴛ ɪs ᴛɪᴍᴇ… I ᴍᴜsᴛ ᴘᴀss ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ғɪʀᴇ.


Mobile Task Force Tau-5 strode out of Prometheus Labs Test Site त-1, eyes gleaming with a fire that they had not possessed since they had died. Above them, a helicopter emblazoned with the Foundation logo circled the cliff.

Irantu stared up at the helicopter. "I've been thinking," he said.

"About what?" Onru asked.

"The… being. About us. He wanted us to help him. But… we didn't. We said… we were our own people. We were independent. We made our own choice."

"And?"

"But out here? We live in a cell. We've never… been anywhere like this. We've always been told what to do. We've never even had these thoughts before."

Munru clicked his tongue. He looked at his feet.

"We were just like… 2970. So why did they," he gestured to the helicopter, "trust us?"

Irantu looked back at the group.

"Were we trusted? Are we just… slaves? Can we really be people if we just… obey?"

Nanku stared up at the helicopter. The group's earpieces crackled to life.

"This is Pequod, come in Tau-5. What is the status of Ess-See-Pee Two-Nine-Seventy? Repeat, what is the status of 2970? Over."

Irantu sighed, then activated his earpiece. "SCP-2970 has been neutralized."

On cue, Nanku procured the skull of the Warrior and his gauntlet from her backpack.

"…Affirmative. Good work. We're coming down to land."

As the four of them watched the helicopter descend, Onru rubbed the back of her palm, fiddling with the ripcord. Irantu tapped his feet impatiently. Munru clenched his hands together, fiddling with his wrists. Nanku's hand tingled, the petals itching to burst forth again.

As the helicopter made its final descent, Munru chose to speak.

"No."

The rest of Tau-5 looked over at him with surprise.

"We aren't slaves. We are men. All of us are fighting to make this world a better place for all of us. But we are going to do it as equals. We will not be cooped up in cells. We will be able to live, and learn, and love, and create. We don't need to be human. We already are. And nobody can take that from us."

He raised his hand, took Irantu's, and clapped them together in a high-five.

The fire in their eyes burst forth once more. The spirit of a Warrior lived on in them.

And a God's work is never done.



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